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Join us for #primaveracrowns on 20th March!

11 Mar

Primaveracrowns 2014

Here’s a bit of fun Michelle and I dreamed up… join us to celebrate the start of spring on 20th March by making a flower crown and posting a photo of yourself wearing it on your blog, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram using the hashtag #primaveracrowns.

Please share the photo above to help us spread the word!

A few posts explaining how to make a flower crown to help you get started…

 < A simple step-by-step tutorial from A Beautiful Mess >

< A little more complicated for a lovely casual look from Green Wedding Shoes >

< A pretty video tutorial for those who prefer YouTube >

< Follow my Flower Crown Inspiration board on Pinterest >

Flower crown inspiration on Pinterest from Decorator's Notebook

We hope to see you next Thursday!

Homemade Christmas wreath with a contemporary twist

18 Dec

Homemade Christmas wreath with eucalyptus DIY

Homemade Christmas door wreath contemporary foliage

{© Decorator’s Notebook}

I absolutely LOVE Christmas – not so much for the day itself but for those leading up to it. The little rituals mean so much to me: choosing the tree, making the cake, planning how I’ll decorate the table and waiting excitedly for everyone to arrive. And now this year I have a pretty homemade wreath on the door to greet them!

On Sunday Lou arranged a tasty lunch and a crafty afternoon for a handful of Westcountry bloggers and kindly invited me along as a newcomer to the group. My little network of blogging friends is one of the few things I do actually miss about London, so it was lovely to meet some kindred spirits in my new/old area. Xanthe from Ivory Flowers supplied us with a beautiful array of foliage and decorations to use and we had spent a relaxing afternoon chatting while binding clumps of earth-scented moss, lush pine, orange slices and dried flowers onto our wreaths. With such a fantastic array of ingredients to choose from it was fun seeing all the finished results… I opted for a bit of contemporary style using eucalyptus, cheerful billy buttons, cotton heads and cinnamon sticks.

Now every time I arrive home I have a reminder of a lovely afternoon and a special welcome for our Christmas visitors!

For more ideas, visit my fellow bloggers and admire the beautiful wreaths they created too: Lou at Littlegreenshed | Lottie at Oyster & Pearl | Cathy at Bristol Parenting Cafe | Kat at Housewife Confidential | Laura at Circle of Pine Trees | Natalie at Thistle Apples

3 best upcyled lighting ideas

20 Aug

upcycled colander wall lights

upcycled bowler hat wall lights

upcycled metal bucket ceiling light{all Decorator’s Notebook}

All spotted during my recent trip to Yeo Valley Farm with the lovely crew from This is Your Kingdom.

Cute and quick homemade thank you cards

28 May

I’ve had it drummed into me since I was little that it’s essential to send thank you cards to relatives who’ve given you presents. In recent years I’ve always tried to make them myself, partly because I think handmade cards are that little bit more special and partly to make up for the fact I usually send them weeks late. Here’s a quick how-to of this year’s design…

homemade thank you card ideas

homemade thank you cards DIY

handmade card ideas how to{all Decorator’s Notebook}

Once you’re on a roll, each handmade card will only take a few minutes and it’s easy to vary the design with different coloured washi tape, twine and snipping the flags and dymo labels into slightly different shapes.

These would made lovely homemade birthday cards or invitations too.

If you found my post useful, please share it! Buttons below…

Print any photo as a polaroid: free template!

25 Apr

When my brother Joe came up with this simple method for turning some favourite digital snaps into perfect Polaroids for the backdrop of our Showcase stand, I knew you’d love to get your hands on the template. So, I’ve invited him to do his first guest post here and share the DIY – over to you bro!

Print any digital photo as a polaroid free template from Decorators Notebook blog

Hi, Joe here!

If you love Polaroid format pictures as much as I do, you’ve generally got two options: buy a bargain Polaroid camera then shed tears over the cost of the film, or shell out almost as much on send-away Instagram printing.

Now, I print my DSLR photographs for the princely sum of 10p each at my local Asda, so the above options just didn’t add up for me. So instead, I decided to have a go at designing a Photoshop template that meant I could print any digital photo I liked as a Polaroid – and it worked!

Print any digital photo as a polaroid free template from Decorators Notebook blog

Turn any digital photo into a Polaroid print

Your photos as jpegs

Photoshop (or if you want almost the same thing for free, I recommend GNU GIMP)

 

1. Download my free Polaroid template PNG image and open in Photoshop or GIMP
2. Drag in your photograph as a layer* and re-order the layers so your photo is behind the Polaroid template
3. Select your photograph layer and use the re-size and move tools so that the desired section of the image appears in the square portion of the Polaroid template. It’s likely that your photo will be huge compared to the template, but just shrink it down to size**
4. Save or export image as a JPEG
5. Put the pictures on a memory stick and take to your local photo processing place or use your home printer
6. Use a guillotine or craft knife to trim the bottom white portion from the photo, leaving a thicker border at the base than the sides

*Need help with layers? Watch this YouTube video for Photoshop or this one for GIMP.

**The template size is 12×8 inches which will automatically be scaled down to 6×4″ by the photo processor but allows the file to be a higher resolution to start with. If you chose to print it in a different ratio, the Polaroid image will no longer be square.

I really hope you like it – I’ll be on hand in the comments section to answer any questions!

- Joe

If you found my post useful, please share it! Buttons below…

Print any digital photo as a polaroid free template from Decorators Notebook blog

{Photographs, tutorial and template © Decorator’s Notebook}

15-minute make: magnetic storage tins

14 Apr

I’ve posted before about my tendency to buy foods just because I like the packaging. My kitchen cupboards are full of decanted jam, biscuits and spices – some labelled, others not. Sometimes fun / disastrous at mealtimes!

magnetic upcycled storage tins

This (slightly belated) 15-minute make will require you to shop around for pretty tins and find another home for the contents… that’s the hardest part over and done with. The rest of this DIY couldn’t be easier! My local Turkish supermarket is a goldmine of nice packaging, or scout car boot sales for vintage alternatives.

paprika and mustard tins

magnetic storage tins DIY tutorial

Magnetic Storage Tins

Selection of square or rectangular tins

Magnets

Super glue / glue gun

1) Empty, rinse and dry the tins.

2) Glue a magnet onto the back of each tin. Use two magnets if you plan to store something heavy. Leave to dry.

3) That’s it!

magnetic storage tins tutorial{A Pretty Cool Life}

These tins are really handy on the fridge or invest a mere £11 in a magnetic knife strip from IKEA and you can stick them anywhere. I like the idea of a whole row above my desk for pens and paperclips or inside the door of my DIY cupboard for nails and screws.

15-minute make: porcelain pen plates

22 Feb

Here’s a simple DIY using just two ingredients… a porcelain pen and a plain white plate. You could try out any design you want, but I really love the simplicity of this graphic pattern. It looks great and there’s no particular drawing skill needed to recreate it – just the kind of crafting I like!

white plates decorated with porcelain pen DIY craft idea

Porcelain Pen Decorated Plates

Fire at home porcelain pen

Basic white plates

1) Read the instructions on your porcelain pen – follow those if they differ from mine!

2) Give the pen a good shake and press the nib of the pen down several times on a sheet of scrap paper to get the ink flowing.

3) Start drawing your design on the plate, starting in the centre and turning the plate as you work to avoid smudging.

4) Leave to air dry for 24 hours then bake in the oven for 35 minutes at 150ºC / Gas Mark 2. Once fired the pen should be dishwasher safe but I’d recommend hand washing your masterpiece to be on the safe side.

porcelain pen plate DIY{Project and Photography Mormorsglamour}

Have a great weekend everyone. I’m getting behind the wheel for the first time in over 5 years… wish me luck!

How to hang a display of vintage mirrors

13 Aug

At last, the forest green walls in my bathroom have been transformed into a nice cool grey. Time to finally hang the 1930s mirror collection I’ve had in the cupboard under the stairs for the last five years! Creating a frameless mirror display is harder than it looks so I thought I’d put together a little ‘how to’ with some tips and tricks.

Boring before…

Beautiful after…

How to hang a display of frameless vintage mirrors

YOU WILL NEED:

  • Mirrors
  • Roll of parcel paper or large offcuts of wallpaper
  • Pencil
  • Masking tape
  • Heavy duty picture hooks with at least two screw holes
  • Screws and rawlplugs suitable for your wall type
  • Tape measure / ruler
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver

1) Check the fixings on the back of each mirror are secure (frameless mirrors can be very heavy) and tighten them if necessary. I thought my display would look neater if the chains were hidden so I shortened some of them by adjusting the positions of the fixings and clipping off the excess chain with wire cutters.

2) Trace around each mirror on the parcel paper and cut out to make a template. Sketch on the position of any patterns and mark the top/bottom if necessary.

3) Lay all the templates out on the floor and move them around the create an arrangement you like. Take a photo to act as a reference.

4) Use masking tape to fix the templates onto the wall in the same positions, tweaking the arrangement if necessary. I  swapped the bottom right-hand and left-hand mirrors over as I could see that would fit better once I had the templates up on the wall.

5) Start with the mirror that will hang in the bottom centre position. Lay it face down on the floor and loop your hook under the chain. Pull the chain taught and measure how far down the lower screw hole is from the top of the mirror.

6) Place the hook on top of the corresponding paper template, measure the same distance from the top and mark the position of the screw hole on the wall. You should be able mark through the paper with the template still in place. Then mark the position of the other screw hole, using the hook as your guide.

7) Remove the template and drill holes in the marked positions. Tap in rawlplugs and securely screw in the hook. The easiest way to do this is to start the screw off with a manual screwdriver then finish it off tightly with an electric screwdriver if you have one.

8) Repeat for all the mirrors making any small adjustments to the positions as you go along. Stand back and admire your handiwork!

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

I’m really happy with how it’s turned out and my bathroom looks so much lighter and more spacious now.

If you found my post useful, please share it! Buttons below…

The Fabulous Scavenger

11 Jun

It’s been a while since I shared a blog crush, but two lovely posts about Decorator’s Notebook this week at Tea For Joy and Furnish reminded me how nice it is to celebrate fellow bloggers.

The Fabulous Scavenger has only been going for a few months but it’s already full of clever projects for upcycling vintage finds. Ok, I admit that my praise is tinged with envy… just look at these amazing children’s chairs writer Samantha found on the side of the road and this beautifully battered spirit level from a charity shop. Some people just seem to have all the luck!

Anyway, let’s find it in our hearts to be pleased for her and look at some of Samantha’s brilliant projects.

I was really intrigued to read about what Samantha calls ‘the hard rubbish collection’ – a designated day where households can put junk outside their homes for the council (or whatever they call bin men across the pond) to pick up. Apparently scrap metal collectors and keen vintage hunters cruise the streets in the hope of beating the official rubbish truck and picking up some treasure for themselves. These little spice jars were rescued from the roadside and after a quick wash they make lovely mini vases.

This spirit level wall hook DIY couldn’t be simpler – just screw one to the other and voilà! Such a clever yet straightforward idea.

{all The Fabulous Scavenger}

There’s so much I love about this bedroom: the headboard made from old mirror frames, those adorable children’s chairs at the end of the bed and the easy lamp update using a colourful scarf. Further proof (if we ever needed it) that a little splash of yellow improves almost any room.

With so many great ideas to share so soon after starting blogging, I’ll definitely be keeping a close eye on The Fabulous Scavenger from now on. Go and check it out… I think you’ll agree!

Upcycling: the good, the bad and The Apprentice

12 Apr

So, did you see it? I honestly didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Or where to look – at the TV screen or my Twitter timeline, which was buzzing with talk of nothing else!

One of the things that got me growling at the telly was the indiscriminate use of terms like ‘shabby chic’, ‘vintage’, ‘retro’ and ‘upcycling’. I honestly felt that kind of cringing you get when your grandad says the word ‘sex’. By the time it got to the boardroom and Lord Sugar was saying “upcycling” (in a tone that suggested invisible airfinger speech marks) every 30 seconds I was actually wincing and had my hands ready to cover my ears.

But from an academic perspective the thing that got me thinking most was those on Twitter who were getting angry and upset that The Apprentice candidates were making a mockery of people who sell and upcycle vintage furniture for a living. To me, they’re getting the wrong end of the stick. Those candidates went into the task thinking as I suspect many people do… “this is easy, anyone can do it.” However, what they managed to prove is that no, you can’t. Sure, anyone can stencil a Union Jack onto something (anything) or write Shabby Chic on a luggage tag and hope for the best, but to make something that’s genuinely desirable and covetable you need creativity, skill and a sense for good design.

So, for today I thought I’d post some examples of upcycled pieces that I find inspiring and innovative. Saying that, I think we definitely need a new word to describe this… every time I type upcycled I can feel my fingers tensing up!

I really like this lampshade made from vintage rulers from Roost Living. I think it works because it takes items that are already nicely designed but not overly useful (at least, not once you’ve left school) and turns them into something that’s still nicely designed but useful in a different way. No extra faff or bling – just simple and charming.

{via Apartment Therapy}

You might already be sick of the whole wooden pallet thing, but I think this pallet plate rack is still really clever. It’s a completely new use of a genuinely redundant object and fits into the room in a way that doesn’t shout about its old purpose or feel particularly contrived.

{Annaleena’s Hem}

Am I on shaky ground with this one? I’m going to argue for it because I think it’s clever, it costs almost nothing and it does something practical. No, I don’t think you should pay a single penny for someone to make it for you but I think it’s a great idea.

{Shannon Fricke via Decor8}

A good quality, functional but probably not too attractive wardrobe updated with good quality, attractive but not very functional wallpaper offcuts. Symbiotic upcycling at its best!

Of course, I’m not saying there aren’t some shocking examples out there – I was tickled that one tweeter suggested last night’s episode of The Apprentice should’ve been sponsored by Regretsy – but of course, I wouldn’t be bitchy enough to point out any bad examples.

Hang on, what’s that?

Oh. It appears that I am.

And I’ve made a special Pinterest board of the best (worst) I could find. Sorry… couldn’t help it.

Please do comment with other pieces (good and bad) and tell me what you think of the whole upcycling thing!

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